Tag Archives: Bocks

154. Ayinger Celebrator

There are countless Scottish beers on the list which we’ve yet to track down. It’s also long overdue that I should pay a visit to the Official Threehundredbeers Mother, who lives somewhere in the middle of Scotland that I couldn’t necessarily point to on a map. It’s time to hit the road again.

We’ll break up the journey by stopping off in Edinburgh for a couple of nights. It’ll be a nostalgic sort of visit, as I spent five penniless years in Edinburgh as a student, slightly longer ago than I’m entirely comfortable admitting to myself.

The city seems to have a thriving beer scene these days, with The Bow Bar enjoying a particularly good reputation. Where better to tick off a couple of fine Scottish ales?

The Bow Bar, Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Of course, I’ve made all of this effort to get to Scotland only to walk haplessly into the middle of the Bow Bar’s “German Bier Festival”, with the pub currently boasting a terrific tap and bottle lineup of rare and delicious German treats.

Happily enough, the bottle menu includes Ayinger Celebrator, a strong Bock-style beer from Aying in Bavaria, one I’ve struggled to find in London so far. So no complaints from me.

Ayinger Celebrator at the Bow Bar

As a Bock, this is technically a lager, although you wouldn’t know it to look at it. Celebrator pours dark and thick, with a modest tan froth, sticking to the glass as you gently swirl it around.

Maybe I’m just excited to be on holiday, but this seems to me to be lovely stuff. There is a detectable hint of lageriness in there somewhere, but it’s hidden well by rich, sinister toffee and caramel, dried fruits such as dates and raisins, and a potent, warming hit of booze.

German Bier Festival Menu at the Bow Bar

The 6.7% payload is well-integrated though. The malting is rich and sweet—enough to remind me of those Scottish ales that I came here for in the first place—and there’s a lasting, slightly smoky finish. What a complex beer this is, and one to take your time over and savour. Happy days, and a completely unexpected find for the project.

This is a great pub, too. I never drank in the Bow Bar as a student, but it’s the sort of place I’d barely leave if I lived nearby these days. Thanks, chaps.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brauerei Aying, Aying, Germany
Style: Bocks
Strength: 6.7% ABV
Found at: The Bow Bar, Victoria Street, Edinburgh
Serving: 330ml bottle

122. Paulaner Salvator

Without doubt, Lowlander has been a valuable ally on this journey. I’ve found several beers there already, and we haven’t quite exhausted the impressive beer menu just yet.

While many of Lowlander’s beers tend to be Belgian or Dutch, this one from Munich in Germany has recently appeared on the menu. It’s a Bock, and while I still don’t fully understand what that is, I know it’s technically a lager, though nothing at all like the usual pale Eurofizz.

Paulaner Salvator at Lowlander, London

Paulaner Salvator is in fact a Doppelbock, so it weighs in at a quite respectable 7.9% ABV. I’m told that it’s brewed with wheat, though it doesn’t appear particularly cloudy. Instead it’s a warm, rich chestnut colour with the slightest trace of caramel froth on top.

It’s lovely stuff, being smooth and deep with unctuous toffee and butterscotch flavours and sultana-like fruit. There are spicy notes too, similar to those found in a rye IPA.

The full body and richness remind you that the beer was originally brewed by Franciscan monks to sustain themselves through the period of Lent, and only later sold to the public to raise funds for the monastery.

For its fairly hefty alcohol payload, it’s surprisingly easy drinking and slips down a treat. All in all, Paulaner Salvator is a very pleasant change from the usual, and a beer I’m sure I’ll be enjoying again before long.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei, Munich, Germany
Style: Bocks
Strength: 7.9% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

79. Samichlaus

Now then. For beer number 79, we turn to something a little bit special. Samichlaus is a remarkable beer, which has by turns been described as “the world’s strongest lager”, “perhaps the rarest beer in the world”, and according to its own label, “the world’s most extraordinary beverage”.

Whether any of those claims is true is perhaps best left to the reader to decide, but let’s just say it’s a bit of a stonker. Brewed at Schloß Eggenberg in Austria just once per year on December the 6th, and then aged for 10 months before bottling, it attains a formidable 14.0% ABV.

You rarely see this stuff, but The Draft House’s newest branch, on Seething Lane in the City of London, came up with the goods this weekend, instantly earning a place in your correspondent’s heart at the first visit.


You can tell just by looking that this is something special, and it certainly is. Reminiscent of a Barleywine or Vintage Ale, it’s rich, thick, spicy and medicinal, with a dense sweetness that can’t possibly compete with the alcohol heat.

In fact there’s a huge, warming alcohol hit that’s very welcome indeed at this time of year. Your lips stick together, your face blushes a fiery crimson, and your head begins to forget all its troubles.

Yet behind all that booze, there’s a truly delicious, complex beer full of dried fruit, spice and sherry flavours.

Samichlaus is the perfect winter beer by design, and it’s one of those beers that you could drink all night if your wallet would stretch to it, or at least if you wouldn’t fall off your chair half way through the second one.

It’s lovely stuff, and a real winter treat. I may well be back for more.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brauerie Schloss Eggenberg, Eggenburg, Austria
Style: Bocks
Strength: 14.0% ABV
Found at: The Draft House, Seething Lane, London EC3N
Serving: 330ml Bottle